In this post, an anonymous member of our community reflects on her experience becoming an NFP (Natural Family Planning) Instructor.
Almost three years ago, I received a text from a friend: “Have you ever thought about becoming a FertilityCare Practitioner?” I looked at her message and brushed it off. It was my busy season at work, and quite frankly, I resented what she asked me. I felt unsettled at the thought that God might be calling me to do this.
A few weeks later, things calmed down at work. With more mental and emotional space available, my friend’s question started creeping back into my thoughts. Would I ever consider becoming a FertilityCare Practitioner – someone who taught the Creighton Model FertilityCare System? Would I teach couples to chart the wife’s fertility biomarkers as a way of helping them to evaluate, diagnose and treat gynecological conditions and to try to achieve or avoid pregnancy?
The question was a loaded one for me. My husband and I had learned the Creighton Model FertilityCare System three years prior as part of our own infertility treatment, and I was under the care of a medical specialist who used NaPro (Natural Procreative Technology) to treat underlying conditions that might be causing or contributing to our infertility. While I loved my physician and his approach, let me just say that my relationship with charting was complicated.
On the one hand, for me, learning how to chart was an incredibly empowering process. In fact, I encouraged many people I knew to learn, too! Understanding my hormone and fertility patterns enabled me to revere and appreciate my body in a new way. I also began to feel like a true “partner” with my doctor during medical appointments. We would review my charts together, and he would listen intently to my thoughts about how I was responding to the different medications and approaches.
On the other hand, charting could be extremely difficult and sometimes even felt like torture. Remaining mindful of the beginning and ending of my cycles, bleeding days, dry days, mucus days, lengths of pre- and post-peak phases, and the constant evaluating – the process could be incredibly disheartening.
So, I responded to my friend and told her that while I had mixed feelings about it, I would give it further thought. Earlier in the year, I had participated in a diocesan program called “Called and Gifted.” During this program, I had more clearly identified the gifts God gave me and discerned how He was calling me to serve Him. This program had given me great consolation that God was actively working in my life during my infertility journey, and faith that God was calling me to serve Him in a special way.
While my gifts and interests seemed to match with the call to teach the Creighton Model FertilityCare System of NFP, my heart was still hardened towards this option. I thought, surely my God wouldn’t be cruel enough to call me to work where I would be constantly surrounded by the very things that I was still struggling with and grieving through. Why would He call me to serve Him in this way? I grappled with these questions through prayer, each time experiencing a softening in my heart and a gentle prompting from Him to go for it.
To continue my discernment, I decided to apply to a program that would provide the necessary training. Lo and behold, I got in! I learned that when it comes to God’s will, there is a way. I started my program in February 2020. By the grace of God, I first became a FertilityCare Practitioner Intern and then a fully-fledged FertilityCare Practitioner.
Let me tell you honestly, this process was not easy. The training was demanding, especially while also keeping up with a full-time job. Don’t even get me started on all the documentation and assignments! There was also an emotional component; I had to work through difficult feelings and remain professional when client situations struck close to home in terms of my own infertility journey. To make things more complicated, all of this happened during the thick of the pandemic.
At the same time, however, this work has brought me unimaginable joy. I love seeing clients and helping them learn about how their bodies work. I love listening to them explain why they seek to learn this type of NFP. I love it when clients have intricate patterns of medical issues, and we work through them together to bring order out of chaos. One of my favorite aspects of my work is having clients who are also under the care of a NaPro physician; seeing these clients’ charts transform as they undergo treatment for their underlying conditions is so fulfilling.
To conclude this post, I would like to ask you, my dear reader and sister in infertility, what my friend asked me almost three years ago.
Do you have a passion for bringing healing to couples by helping them understand how the wife’s body works? Do you love to simplify complex things? Does the thought of encouraging others as they learn about the sacredness of their bodies lift you up? Do you feel called to spiritually mother others in a very special way? Are you seeking a way to be fruitful out of your experience of infertility?
Have you ever thought about teaching NFP?